Philip Marlowe  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Philip Marlowe is a fictional private detective created by Raymond Chandler in a series of novels including The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye. Marlowe first appeared in The Big Sleep, published in 1939. Marlowe appeared in none of Chandler's early short stories, though many of his early stories were republished years later with the names of the protagonists changed to Philip Marlowe; this change was presumably made with the approval of Chandler.

Philip Marlowe's character is foremost within the genre of hardboiled crime fiction that originated in the 1920s, most notably in Black Mask magazine, in which Dashiell Hammett's The Continental Op and Sam Spade first appeared. The private eye is a pessimistic and cynical observer of a corrupt society, yet the enduring appeal of Marlowe and other hardboiled detectives lies in their tarnished idealism.

Underneath the wisecracking, hard drinking, tough private eye, Marlowe is quietly contemplative and philosophical. He enjoys chess and poetry. While he is not afraid to risk physical harm, he does not dish out violence merely to settle scores. Morally upright, he is not bamboozled by the genre's usual femme fatales, like Carmen Sternwood in The Big Sleep. As Chandler wrote about his detective ideal in general, "I think he might seduce a duchess, and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin."

Chandler's treatment of the detective novel exhibits a continuing effort to develop the art form. His first full length book, The Big Sleep, was published when Chandler was 51; his last, Playback, when he was 70. All seven novels were produced in the last two decades of his life. All maintain the integrity of Philip Marlowe's character, but each novel has unique qualities of narrative tone, depth and focus that set it apart from the others.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Philip Marlowe" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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